How Should We Understand Genesis 3:16b Looking Through The Lens of Song of Song? (Part 3)

To understand how God hates abuse and why he gives incentives to encourage husbands not to abuse their wives, both the OT and NT must be interwoven and overlaid.

Lust is the fruit of worshiping self-absorption. Lust breaks the marriage Covenant. Lust commits the waywardness sins of horizontal and vertical alienation; it’s an act of disobedience.

God’s Word, as spoken to us in Song, should now convince every husband and wife that marital sex is the greatest thing ever! What man would ever want to abuse his wife when the alternative is nirvana – experiencing sexual rapture that’s likened to living together in the new Eden – to be experienced by complying with God’s architectural plan?

Coming from man, Genesis 3:16b speaks of the woman’s desire to return to him seeking oneness, to experience the ultimate in friendship, one that is ON-FIRE, just as man desires to return to God in oneness because he came from God. Husbands, who understand this teaching, are participating in a marriage that’s literally ON-FIRE, just the way God ordained!

 

Her desire and longing to return and be one with her man is the natural longing instilled at Creation by virtue of God having created woman from man (Genesis 2:21-22). When her man welcomes her return, delighting in her physical and inner Created beauty, her total God Created essence, and expressing his gratitude to God for having given him this perfect life partner, their marital relationship is Blessed — Blessed, their friendship becomes a friendship that’s on-fire, rewarded with the mutual experience of rapture-in-oneness, bonded for a lifetime.

PREVIOUSLY

The corrected interpretation of “desire” in Genesis 3:16 (paper Part 1) demonstrated that the post-Fall marital dynamic is abuse/frustration. This corrected dynamic now illuminates the application message of Genesis 4 – 6 (Genesis paper Part 2) namely: Every selfish, Narcissus-like father is the archetype of sin for his family, instilling sinful selfishness for generations to come. Additionally, Genesis 3:16 Part 2 summarized the three basic parenting pathologies that are determinate, in their adult children, for weakness sins, which often underlie choices made in waywardness (disobedient) sinning. Abuse is waywardness sinning.

PREFACE

  • To understand God’s hatefulness of abuse and why he put forth two “carrots” to encourage husbands not to abuse their wives, both the OT and the NT will be interwoven and overlaid.
  • Taking to heart God’s truths is to visually integrate in our minds eye the many messages in the Canon where God addresses abuse within marriage. Recognizing that God’s Word speaks from many different perspectives, from many different viewpoints, to the very same architecture, the very same blueprint for the marriage relationship, helps us in visually integrating his complete message.

To confirm this, the following Reformed theological summary is offered.

Aside: God’s Creation architecture reflects that he is sovereign over all matters, including the fact that Satan is under his control: Job 1:6-12, 2:1-7 — Satan had to seek God’s permission twice. Zachariah 3:1—Satan is functioning as a prosecutor before God; he does not have judgmental authority; Luke 10:18-19 Christ saw Satan’s fall and gave his disciples power over Satan. Satan is controlled, like a junkyard dog on a chain.

REFORMED THEOLOGY

God’s architectural plan for his entire Creation is unchanging, constant. Cornelius Van Till’s[1] Creation Doctrine describes God’s plan for creating his universe as roughly analogous to a contractor having a blueprint for a house that he is going to build, but the actual construction adapts to the reality of the construction itself [2]— reflecting God’s progressive revelation. God’s disclosure of knowledge thus synchronizes with humanities ability to understand. “God has created the world and us, adapting each to the other according to his rational [architectural] plan. We see then that our knowledge of the universe must be true since we are creatures of God who has made both us and the universe,” John Frame.[3]

Frame continues: Van Til’s endorsement of “system” [God’s architectural blueprint] begins with the consideration that God himself is exhaustively comprehensible to himself. God’s self-knowledge is in no way defective; it is in perfect order. And to say this is to say, in one sense, that God’s knowledge is “systematic”: … there must be in God an absolute system of knowledge [an unchanging, all encompassing architectural blueprint]. This knowledge includes knowledge not only of God himself but also of His works. Since God has planned and controls all things, all created reality therefore actually displays this plan. It is, in consequence, inherently rational. God, therefore, has a “systematic” knowledge of himself and of the world, since he knows his own plan exhaustively and since the world perfectly conforms to that plan … .

Let’s try an example: An “Einstein intellectually equivalent” was most likely not culturally present at Mt Sinai. Some 3,000 years would pass for humanity to evolve in scientific knowledge, to know that E = mc2. In 1916, Einstein theoretically predicted the existence of gravitational waves,[4] yet the knowledge as to how to actually design and construct an instrument that measures these waves, as they emanated from merging black holes, wasn’t evolved for another 100 years (in 2016).

So, whether it’s humanity’s evolving comprehension of the scientific knowledge of relativity, or humanity’s evolving comprehension of the psychodynamic[5] knowledge of the human personality, his Creation evolves according to his plan of progressive disclosure, yet always maintaining compliance with his original architectural blueprint.

OVERVIEW: ABUSE IN THE OT AND IN THE NT

Looking at how marital abuse is handled by God in the OT and the NT, one sees the application of Van Til’s thesis: “a contractor having a blueprint for a house that he is going to build, but the actual construction adapts to the reality of the construction itself.”

Before Christ and the Holy Spirit, the abused wife had little recourse against abuse, except by demonstrating her value as his helper – that’s being a wife who’s willing to enter into battle as her husband’s Helper Warrior, to physically fight, defend, and rescue her husband (Deuteronomy 25:11; also see also succor discussion below). “Why would I abuse the very person whom I can always count upon to come to my defense?”[6] By always fulfilling her Created role as the Helper Warrior, spousal abuse was prevented.

The Law of God[7] is an external framework within which the Israelites were exhorted to live by, and thusly promote obedience. The wife’s Created role as the Helper Warrior was part of this framework. [8] Her abuse is prevented by the action of her DOING GOOD. This was God’s “first carrot” – avoidance.

Under the New Covenant: Contrast The Law of God with today’s presence of the Holy Spirit — obedience is now addressed by the Spirit’s ability to redeem of our inner motivations, redeeming the actual determinates for our behavior, redeeming issues within our hearts. Sins of weakness (from our family of origin) are forgiven, and a path to repent for our sins of waywardness is offered.

Abused wives now have a direct recourse to counter both covert and overt spousal abuse through this power of the Holy Spirit. Their role in the architectural plan for marriage as helper remains unchanged. Who they now “help,” as the Helper Warrior, is adapted as we have moved from The Law’s external framework to the Holy Spirit’s internal Works.

The Helper Warrior now helps the Holy Spirit. She’s still the Warrior who’s willing to enter into battle (her unchanged created role) – but this time she will do battle as the Spirit’s agent, the agent who brings forth the Constructive Conflict of Mercy. The Helper Warrior who still DOES GOOD by now setting behavioral boundaries with hard consequences, so when crossed, the consequences facilitate the Spirit’s work in opening the abuser’s eyes to see his sinning ways, and to repent – the inner Workings of the Holy Spirit.

Note that in moving from The Law to the Holy Spirit, the wife’s Created role to DO GOOD has not changed. What has changed is how she DOES GOOD. The “how” has now been repointed from DOING GOOD in order to avoid abuse, to DOING GOOD by confronting abuse. She now acts as an agent of the Holy Spirit — the actual construction [of the house] adapts to the reality of the [evolved] construction itself.

THE BIG PICTURE

God’s “Big Picture” begins with Genesis 1:28-30, the Covenant of Works,[9] the Blessing he bestowed upon of his children at Creation was: Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”  (v. 1:28 ESV [10]).

The four Hebrew verbs (the translated English verbs are underlined above) are verbs of the Qal Stem, meaning that in the Hebrew language, these primitive (root) verbs are speaking in an active voice of simplistic actions (e.g., like “eat”). They are acts to be performed and completed by the subject (that’s us, members of the covenant community).

Verbs in Hebrew also have an aspect, like our English verbs have a tense. The aspect of each of these four Hebrew verbs is the “imperative” ­– that’s an order or command. Thus the four verbs in God’s Blessing are four Commands (Mandates), actions that we are to obey:

    • Obedience here means: “Humanity’s redemption occurs only when humans beings multiply and rule the world under God’s lordship and for his glory.”[11]

The Law of God (the Pentateuch authored by Moses): Keep in mind that The Law of God had no redemptive pathway for sins of waywardness: “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth (now known as sins of waywardness), no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God (Hebrews 10:26-27).

Restating: If you didn’t learn The Law from your first disciplined experience, even after you were publicly shamed by having had offering blood splattered all over your garment, and you still repeated your sin, then you’re in a very “deep hole.”

A Very Deep Hole Indeed: Numbers 15:32-36 is an example of how the Law of God harshly dealt with those who willfully sinned sins of waywardness – in this example the sin of waywardness is disrespect of God’s Commandment for Sabbath Rest. This sinner had no “unknowing” excuse for his violation; everyone had taken a public oath (Exodus 24:3) to obey the Ten Commandments [those who unknowingly commit sins are committing sins in weakness (1 Timothy 1:13-14)]. This Sabbath sinner was stoned to death.

So, back then should a husband choose to abuse his wife and the wife, being highly frustrated, longing to be one with her man (Genesis 2:21-22), then out of her emotional frustration, goes and commits adultery [a willful waywardness sin breaking a Commandment], both the adulterer and the adulteress are stoned to death (Leviticus 20:10).

Yet, God’s purpose in creating woman in Genesis was never for her to be an object of abuse and use, owned and used like a goat:

    • At her Creation: The Lord God said,It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper [`ezer] suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18, NIV)

Theologically: To understand the wife’s Created role in God’s architectural plan for marriage, the Hebrew word `ezer, translated as helper, must be unpacked. Contextually in Hebrew, `ezer equates with “succor” – a giver of assistance or aid and support in times of hardship and distress. How do we know this?

Christ was a helper, a giver of succor: For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor (boētheō) them that are tempted (Hebrews 2:18, ASV). Succor implies that the giver has walked in the other’s shoes, thus having acquired a high degree of understanding and compassion[12] (another foundation stone in God’s architecture, Genesis 2:25).

More contextual examples pointing to this interpretation of `ezer as succor are: Matthew 15:25 (Lord help me); Mark 9:22 (have compassion on us, and help us), v. 9:24 (help thou mine unbelief); Acts 16:9 (help us), v. 21:28 (crying out, Men of Israel, help); 2 Corinthians 6:2 (and in a day of salvation did I succor thee), and Revelation 12:16 (and the earth helped the woman).

In the NT, what’s the succor’s role when she is responding to abuse? Like Christ, she’s anointed[13] by the Spirit to become the Spirit’s Succor Warrior! In battle, the Spirit protects her heart, praying for her that she will not lose faith, just as Jesus prayed that Peter would not lose faith after the Passover Meal when Satan tested (sifted) Peter’s faith three times.

How do we know this? Malachi 2:16 reveals God’s Words on abuse: In v. 2:16a, Malachi first quotes God’s Word, his “stick,” as to how he hates BOTH divorce and abuse, as both cover the husband’s garment (metaphorically likened to being covered with offering blood and publicly shamed) and rendering the husband unworthy to resting God’s presence (in Heaven). Then in v. 2:16b, God’s adds-on an advisory — appending the Hebrew word: bagad.

Contextually, Malachi is proclaiming God’s Word as Israeli men are despising their wives, eyeing the newer, exciting, sexier, and younger Philistine women, with some Israeli men even trading-in their used, high-mileage wives for newer model, Philistine women. There are several deeper meanings to unpack in Malachi’s rendering of God’s Word:

    • God said: “For I hate divorce, says the Lord the God of Israel, and covering [kacah] one’s garment with violence [chamac], says the Lord of hosts. So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless [bagad]” (RSV).
    • First, the logical structure reflected by the RSV translation is: God hates “A” (divorce by the “trade-in,” wife-despising Covenant breakers) and he equally hates “B” (abusing/despising one’s wife).
    • Garment = wife: Entering into marriage in the OT was often portrayed as covering oneself with a garment (Ruth 3:9; Ezekiel 16:8). So “violence” (chamac), was to despise/divorce or despise/abuse your “garment.”
    • The Piel Stem of the Hebrew root-verb kacah [covering] indicates that this is an act of intentional concealment, to hide (Genesis 18:17 — And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do), intentional concealment of acts/actions of violence (chamac) against one’s wife.

At this point, God has delivered several commentaries on how husbands will naturally view their marriage:

    • The natural husband will grow tired of his marriage relationship, and because of his inherited selfishness, a weakness he has inherited of from his family of origin, Adam and Eve, he will ultimately use and abuse his wife.
    • He will commit acts of
    • These intentional acts of chamac will be covertly inflicted (behind the closed front door) – kacah actions.

Chamac Tells All: The KJV translates chamac as “violence” thirty-five times. In addition, the KJV translates chamac into every other behavioral attribute that our current psychodynamic knowledge of the human personality now calls NARCISSISTIC ACTIONS. Here’s KJV’s list:

    • With Cruelty – Deuteronomy 19:16
    • With Cruel Hatred – Psalm 25:19
    • Oppressively – Proverbs 3:31
    • Baring False Witness (Gaslighting[14]) – Psalm 35:11
    • Plain Wrong – Job 19:7
    • Injustice – Job 16:17
    • Unrighteous – Exodus 23:1
    • Causing Poisonous Damage (using flying monkeys) – Proverbs 26:6—Sending a message by the hands of a fool is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison (NIV).

Proverb 26:6 describes an abuser’s utilization of what we call today flying monkeys in order to accomplish his goal. Flying monkeys is perhaps the most despicably sinful acts (drinking poison) that an abuser can effectuate. He’s conning others (flying monkeys = fools) to deliver a message to his spouse that she’s truly afflicted – the most egregious example I’ve encountered was the conning of several pastors (fools) that his wife was a neurotic narcissus, the “wicked witch of the west,” in order to aid and abet his desire to split the kids away from their mother. He wanted his personal trophies (the kids) to worship him, not to be discipled by their mother to fear God. Get it? This abuser used godly agents to deliver his satanic message! He truly poisoned himself in front of God.

Yes! God truly hates Covenant Breakers who willfully choose to sin against his architectural plan for marriage; back then and still now!

Bagad Foretells: God’s Word choice actually foreshadows the Works of the Holy Spirit: God’s advice “do not be faithless” [bagad], foreshadows Peter’s counsel to abused wives to DO GOOD:

For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil (1 Peter 3:17), that’s to exercise the Constructive Conflict of Mercy as the Spirit’s Succor Warrior, to DO GOOD in the face of extremely bizarre abuse (e.g., enduring range and extreme humiliation, gaslighting, and flying monkeys, all because abusers hate behavioral boundaries. Why? Because with the imposition of boundaries they feel even more insecure, and thus strike-back harshly in self-defense:

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened [the Spirit will protect your heart]” (1 Peter 3:14).

    • The Hebrew word bagad is a primitive root (Qal Stem, imperfect in aspect referring to an action which has not yet begun – an advisory to the wise) contextually meaning, do not act covertly, and do not act in any fraudulent or deceitful
    • Bagad instructs wives to never, ever pretend; instead confront[15] as the Spirit’s Succor Warrior!

In other words, God’s counsel of “do not be faithless” (bagad) advises abused Christian wives to NOT allow their hearts to pull-anchor from Living Water and re-root out in Satan’s salty, dry wilderness. The wife must always remain faithfully available to be the Spirit’s Succor Warrior!

Pulling anchor is for a wife to pretend that her marriage is OK: Pretending is to become a co-conspirator, a facilitator in furtherance of her husband’s abusive, sinful, Covenant Breaking behavior. Neither a co-conspirator, nor a facilitator can functionally be the Succor Warrior because pretense is active sinning against God’s marriage architecture, sinning against her Creation role of `ezer.

Should she choose to pretend (or just give-in and endure), both she and the abuser break the Marriage Covenant. (Sadly, look back at Endnote #15. Far too many Pastors and unknowing Counselors dispense the advice to “just pretend, just love more, just be more understanding” – pastors/counselors are now sinning themselves by giving out this satanic advice.)

Broken marriages are redeemable through the Works of the Holy Spirit. But God’s preferred Word is to motivate husbands NOT to be “Narcissus-like” (Malachi 2:16 – God’s “STICK”).

God’s Words in the OT also contain the SECOND CARROT: Song of Songs. God’s Second, and most convincing Carrot is: enjoy my Blessing, relish in my preferred marital relationship that can be characterized as a “friendship that’s truly on-fire.” On-fire? That’s sexually on-fire!

Interestingly, the full meanings of Malachi 2:16 and Song of Songs won’t be truly understood until we reach the New Covenant.

SONG OF SONGS[16] — GOD’S CARROT: DEMISE OF COVERT VIOLENCE (kacah chamac)

God’s CARROT is intended to be the most convincing for husbands (and wives) to bond together (bonding with Jesus first because you cannot love bond with your spouse if you haven’t first love bonded with Jesus), and thus enjoy the all the Fruits of his Blessing, that’s a friendship that’s truly on-fire, a Blessed friendship.

Yes, God invented both sex appeal and sex at Creation. Why? To encourage his children to obey the four commands of the Blessing (Covenant of Works, Genesis 1:28), and then offer a reward for conforming with his architectural plan for marriage.

“Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:22). It wasn’t until Paul, when God finally disclosed the “mystery” underlying Genesis 2:22’s enormously powerful impact as a component of his marriage architecture:

  • Genesis defines God’s architecture of the marital relationship: Woman was made from man’s rib; in Hebrew made means to build a HOME (Genesis 2:22).[17]
  • Song is like the instructional manual for literally constructing this HOME. Song teaches the correct theological sequence to unfold his love sequence in order to achieve a mature (Blessed), Godly integration of divine (agápē or other-centered) love and sexual love (érōs).
  • Through Paul, in Ephesians 5:28-32, God now discloses the full, intended effect of this CARROT when he integrates the spiritual dimension into this construction process of HOME
  • HOME is the vehicle by which God’s created earth is to be populated with children who fear him, and who desire to glorify him. At the practical level, parents are to disciple his (not theirs) children. Parents are not owners of God’s kids, only temporary stewards charged with insuring their discipleship. Parents are Ambassadors when it comes to the parenting process. Simply, God’s architectural design for HOME is to replicate his trinitarian relationship[18] of love, delight, and adoration among his chosen parents to disciple his children within the earthly family unit.

Aside: Abusive husbands (Malachi 2:16) are HOME wreckers, not HOME builders.

Architecturally: Envision Song as a high-resolution overlay that adds color and dimension to Genesis 2’s one-dimension, black-and-white, charcoal sketchiness. Through this new, composite image, we now see why Moses said: Receive the Blessings (marital rapture) from living in harmonious accord with God’s ordained ordering of the world.

Two-D loving bonds hold God’s ordained architecture of a marriage together. The horizontal, emotionally felt, is the loving bond between spouses: That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh (Genesis 2:24).

Then Paul elaborates on the 2nd, vertical bond: In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:28-32).

What actually holds the HOME together? Emotions. TWO emotions are necessary, particularly to be felt by the husband: delight[19] for his wife’s inner and outer (physical) beauty, and gratitude for God having given him in marriage this delightful wife. Absence of either consigns the HOME to the trash bin. (Abusers cannot feel the emotion of gratitude, and their emotional delight is felt only momentarily, lasting only until the bloom is off the rose. The abuser feels delight only when he acquires/possess some new, shiny object – like one of those newer, exciting, sexier, and younger Philistine women. Once the object loses its shine – its exciting newness – then it reverts to being something old and worn-out. That’s why some card-carrying, narcissistically inclined men of today will choose to cheat on their wives instead of demonstrating leadership in redeeming their marriage.)

Why this all focus on the husband? He’s the spiritual head of the wife, commanded to love his wife, just the way Christ loves his church. He’s her holistic 3-D protector – that’s her physical, emotional, and spiritual protector, just like she had originally enjoyed before God Created her from him. Simply, a protected wife expects:

  • Emotional protection — his nourishment and leadership for her soul care;
  • Cherishment for the gifts given to her by God, that’s her inner and outer beauty;
  • Desire and Delight: She expects her husband to always express his desire and delight for her, to be the “apple of his eye” (Psalm 17:8), to lovingly welcome her to return to her origin seeking sexual oneness with her man.

In God’s architectural plan, the husband is assigned the role of totally responsibility for the marriage. (An abuser cannot accept personal responsibility.) Song reflects this when it pictures the couple coming up out of the wilderness with the wife leaning on her husband (Song 8:5).

FRIENDSHIP COMES FIRST – SONG’S “MY SISTER” THEOLOGY

Building a relational friendship is the foundational to building a solid marriage, God’s HOME. Friendship is the relational cornerstone shaped during Song’s (extended) courting period, where the man is proving to his betrothed that he will, in all circumstances, lovingly protect her (holistic protection). By demonstrating a predictable behavior, is how he earns her trust, and in return he gains her respect.

Establishing this trust/respect dynamic is the “My Sister” theology as told in Song 1 – 5. The importance of the “My Sister” is underscored by Song’s three admonishments (2:7, 3:5, and 8:4) to not arouse or awaken love until it so desires [until he pleases, v. 8:4, KJV].

Do not arouse or awaken love until he pleases [KJV, 8:4] emphasizes the prerequisite requirement for the trust/respect dynamic to be in place before the union can be Blessed. The phrase “until he pleases” also means that he must demonstrate three-dimensional protection with “older-brother-like,” Christ-like, My Sister actions. His protection must predictable in order to earn her trust. That’s how he earns her respect.

This takes time, and this process cannot be rushed.

The poem “Yearning for Love” (8:1-4)[20] speaks directly to Song’s “My Sister” theology (italic emphasis of scripture is the authors):

                1 If only you were to me like a brother,
who was nursed at my mother’s breasts!
Then, if I found you outside, I would kiss you,
and no one would despise me.
2 I would lead you
and bring you to my mother’s house—
she who has taught me.
I would give you spiced wine to drink,
the nectar of my pomegranates.
3 His left arm is under my head
and his right arm embraces me.
4 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires
.

If only you were to me like a brother” expresses the very depths of her expected marital relationship, to be fundamentally brotherly – Christ-like – holistically protective, tender and caring, just like any older brother would be of a younger, little sister. This “My Sister” love in Greek is called storgē (στοργή), love between family members.

The evocation “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” appeared two previous times, first in Song, in 2:7 and then in 3:5. Interestingly, the KJV strongly emphasizes this third admonishment: I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.

The addition by the KJV’s second negative “nor awaken” emphasizes the unequivocal importance of these admonishments. Note that all three invoke the same conditional restraint: until he pleases – until he demonstrates his holistic protection by his “brotherly” actions (pleasing her with consistent and predictable actions), not by words, not by promises.

  • Why three times? The most important aspects of God’s Word are always repeated at least three times in the Canon.

Despise” (8:1b) in this context points us to the public display of mutual affection. Verse 8:1b links back to Genesis 2:25, linking despise with the word shame, thus emphasizing a critical aspect of “My Sister” friendship before “My Bride.” How?

  • To be despised by others often leads to one’s own feeling of shame.
  • Feeling free to naturally express in public their mutual loving affection indicates that their friendship has reached the point where there’s nothing between them that’s unknown, nothing to they will feel shamed by someone else knowing it.

Why is this level of intimacy desirable? God’s ordained end-point for the “My Sister” theology is: Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame (Genesis 2:25).[21]

During this “My Sister” phase, the lovers move close enough to walk in each other’s shoes, maybe even reaching the point of finishing each other’s sentences. (This is how the women gains the working knowledge and desire to be her betrothed’s succor, Hebrews 2:18 ASV.)

“Despise” also contextually points to the anti-abuse aspect of Genesis 2:25. If both parties have deepened their relationship to the degree God ordains in “My Sister,” then it’s virtually impossible for this bond to be broken by alienation (abuse). (The warning in Hebrews 10:26-27 cautions husbands to not willfully choose to despise a wife, conveying again God’s warning: DO NOT ABUSE YOUR WIFE.)

ON-FIRE ONENESS – SONG’S “MY BRIDE” THEOLOGY

This follows My Sister, the prerequisite to one flesh bonding, and explains Genesis 2:24 — That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. This is the inseparable bonding of being on-fire, a bonding akin to a “Krazy glue” bond (aka, covenant cement) that God ordains for his marriages. Krazy-glued bonding symbolizes a bond that’s impossible for man to break.

Greeks named this “glue” agápē (ἀγάπη) — the love of God for man and of man for God; 2-D love!  The very next poem in Chapter 8, “Like a Seal” (vv. 8:5-7) characterizes this agápē-glued bond:

Women of Jerusalem:

Who is this coming up from the wilderness
leaning on her beloved?

                She:

                Under the apple tree I roused you;
there your mother conceived you,
there she who was in labor gave you birth.
6 Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame [like the very flame of the Lord].
7 Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of one’s house for love,
it [he] would be utterly scorned [despised].

This poem starts with the chorus recounting how the woman is coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved. The Hebrew verb for leaning (a Hithpael participle) occurs only here in all of the Hebrew Bible.

In describing a physical posture, this verb also suggests both an intimate and dependent relationship – dependent reflecting Song’s spiritual dimension of their relationship (her soul’s resting in his pastoral care – her husband is her “Priest,” her pastor [Genesis 2:15]). Summarized: Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him; and Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him (Psalm 62:1, 5). His soul care is what connects them[22] – the spiritual aspect of the Krazy glue, covenant bond. (Recall the prior discussion that the husband is assigned the role of totally responsibility for the marriage.)

Historical Aside: The Septuagint translates verse 8:5 slightly differently: Who is this that comes up all white, leaning on her kinsman? Looking back at 1:5, we note: I am very dark, but lovely. Why difference in translation? Origen (born c. 185, probably in Alexandria, Egypt—died c. 254, in Lebanon), was the most important theologian and biblical scholar of the early Greek Church — he’s the individual who castrated himself, desexed Song, and allegorically spiritualized the Bridegroom in Song as Jesus Christ and the Bride as the Church. He had concluded that she was black in 1:5 by reason of sin, but now she was white as a result of her repentance. No other English Bible includes the word white in its translation of v. 8:5.

Song 8:6-7 uses the analogy of “seals” to describe the transference of this love bonding (God’s meaning of Genesis 2:24, the transference of the parental bond to the spousal bond). Seals, in those times, were either a cylinder or stamp, rolled over or pressed into soft clay. This impression would include some symbolic characterization of personal identity.[23]

In 8:6a, “Place me like a seal over your heart,” she’s asking him to imprint her identity upon his heart, to identify with and become one with her (spiritual level), and thus, like Christ and his Church, to serve and commit himself to her. Also in 8:6a, “place me like a seal upon your arm” signifies transference bonding (Genesis 2:24), the mutual transference of their parental bonds (as babies we all were held in the arms of our parents, learning to bond with them and them with us), and upon your arm also signifies her return to him, having come from a rib under his arm (Genesis 2:22).

To define what the agápē-glued love bond is like, Song employs three similes in 8:6b-7:

  • Jealousy unyielding – love tolerates no rivals (Deuteronomy 32:21); love is tenacious (Hosea 8:8-9), love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8), I am a jealous God (Exodus 20:5).
  • Very flame of the Lord – love is intense, “god-awful” hot (Isaiah 29:6), on-fire.
  • Rivers cannot sweep it away – A VERY IMPORTANT SIMILE: Recall Genesis 2:22 that when woman was made from man’s rib, the Hebrew means to build a HOME; “love” then is the “rock” referred to in Luke 6:48, the “rock” that keeps the HOME steadfast, no matter how furious are the outside forces attempting its destruction, the agápē-glued love bond is rock solid! Rivers cannot sweep it away!

Verse 8:7b sums up how love comes about: Love cannot be bought; love is not for sale; love is only freely given, love is grace given.

PRACTICAL EXAMPLE

Bone of my Bones” hardly sounds like a term of endearment that a husband would say to his wife in finishing their “date night” dinner as his prelude to enjoying sexual oneness of an on-fire friendship.

In ancient Hebrew “Bone of my Bones” actually was poetically endearing – and it was more than something said “over dinner.” These are the poetic words that Adam spoke to Eve (Woman) upon being introduced (a blind date) by God upon their marriage! These words reflected that Woman, having been created from him (Genesis 2:22), was going to return home, to return again and again relishing in oneness, in being part of him again – to feel holistically protected by him again (Genesis 2:23) as in pre-Fall Eden:

This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man
.”

Right after his romantic greeting, they retired in God’s glory for her to relish in this engulfing protection, emotionally bonding together in oneness (Genesis 2:24b).

To have this ability to “return and bond again as one flesh” is why God designed his men and women to be anatomically complementary. Plus, he masterfully designed our neurological system and brain chemistry to reward us upon becoming again and again and again, one flesh.

Teaching the practical application of Genesis 2:22-24 is the very meaning of Song of Songs (7:1-11):

Romantic Endearments Today: Over their date-night dinner, the husband (emotionally delighted and hardly able to contain his overarching joy and gratitude for God’s having brought he and his wife together) expresses his appreciation for both his wife’s physical and inner beauty. He’s conveys his delight as he contemplates soon making love to her. The words he chooses reflect upon her body as an image of freshness and splendor. His words also reflect her tenderness, and the strength and stateliness of her character.

This is how God teaches us, via Song, his uniquely designed word-art of the “verbalized prelude” to one flesh, word-art designed to be fully compatible with his marriage architecture, word-art that entices both to bond together sexually.

Her response may shock some of the other diners at the restaurant. Not able to emotionally contain herself, she shouts out: “YEA!!! I BELONG to my beloved, and his DESIRE is for me! (7:10).” By loudly shouting, she’s expressing her very strong emotional response to what her husband just said, reflecting her emotional anticipation for the splendor she’s going to experience in returning in oneness with her man. (Hopefully they are sitting at a corner table near some kitchen noise.) When they return home, Song informs us in subsequent versus that their sexual celebration is nothing short of fabulous – on-fire! She gave him everything she had (7:13).

On a practical note, one husband authentically embodied God’s word-art into the nickname “treasure.” In using this nickname, he communicates his total delight for her in all the small moments of their daily living – speaking her nickname along with his acts of touch, hugs, and just in conversation. Her comment: “Whenever he says it, it’s like a reset button on my heart. My response is immediate.”[24] Each time he says “treasure,” he’s delightfully welcoming her back home — “bone of my bones.”

LOVE’s SEXUAL DESIRE

Turning back to 7:10, we find her climatic reaction to his expression of his érōs desire for her (6:13-7:9); he has just finished explaining that his érōs desire is holistic, delighting in the totality of her being:

                She:

                I belong to my beloved,
and his desire is for me.

Contextually, in Song she is reacting to his wasf. Wasf is an Arabic word that simply means “description.” In Song, wasfs are erotic, poetic sensual descriptions of the beloved.

In waṣf love poetry, each part of a lover’s body is described and praised in turn, using metaphors. These metaphoric images are not intended to be literally descriptive. Instead, they are to convey erotic delight, where each lover is finding freshness and splendor in the spouse’s outer and inner body, using carefully chosen metaphors that specifically express a reflection of God’s magnificence as exemplified in his Created World.

A Syrian wedding custom has both the groom and bride describe (in wasfs) one another’s physical and inner beauty in ways that mutually enhance their sexual desires, before retiring to make love.

In Song, he relates his érōs desire for her three times: 4:1-7, 6:4-10, and 7:1-9. She relates her érōs desire for him in 5:10-16.

“I belong to my beloved” is Song’s theological prequel to the “seal on your arm.” Her conclusion that “his desire is for me,” is her exclamation reflecting the overarching, engulfing joy as she anticipates her return to him in an on-fire oneness (Genesis 2:22). She cannot contain her emotions!

EXPERIENCING RAPTURE

In the immediately following verses, 7:11-13, the poem “I Will Give You My Love,” she acts upon her engulfing joy and assertively invites him to a tryst in a countryside vineyard [vineyards are the sexually charged metaphor in Song for intimate, sensually exquisite love making; Song also symbolizes her body as a garden, as a garden to be fully visited, enjoying all the plants in all their exquisite detail and splendor (4:12, 15-16; 5:1; 6:2; and 8:3)]; the vineyard is where she now gives him everything, that’s all the “treasures” she has saved up for him:

The mandrakes send out their fragrance,
and at our door is every delicacy,
both new and old,
that I have stored up for you, my beloved.

Mandrakes were considered an aphrodisiac (Genesis 30:14-16), and at our door is every delicacy references the delicacies to be found in her garden. The terminology new and old suggests everything, her all; she gives him everything, all her treasures.

Song of Songs in 6:12 is where her emotional feelings are conveyed when she’s experiencing her out-of-body rapture.[25] Song use the metaphor of being “swept away,” into out-of-body rapture symbolized as riding in a magnificent, powerful, four-horse chariot (chariots of Amminadab [NIV]), driven by her “Prince” (NSRV):

Before I realized it,
    my desire set me among the chariots of Amminadab.

God’s Word, as spoken to us in Song, should now convince every husband and wife that marital sex is the greatest thing ever! What man would ever want to abuse his wife when the alternative is nirvana – experiencing sexual rapture that’s likened to living together in the new Eden – to be experienced by complying with God’s architectural plan?

ONE MORE THING

Song emphasizes the absolute necessity that the marital relationship achieves duality in horizontal and vertical love bonding in order to comply with God’s architectural plan and receive his Blessing.

This horizontal and vertical love bonding is taught by Song’s dream poem, Seeking and (not) Finding (3:1-5). Mary Magdalene and Jesus will replay this same poetic sequence again some 1,000 years latter.

MIRRORING JOHN 20:11-18 WITH SONG 3:1-4b:

Song 3:1-4b – She found herself alone. Her love has left. She rises from her zone of comfort, her warm, cozy bed, to willing risk her safety by venturing into the dark, cold, foreboding city at night, unprotected, to search for her love, searching only to find a protective watchman instead, to whom she inquires, and only then to be startled by immediately encountering her lover. She grabs hold of him, not letting go until she has taken him to a room in her mother’s house, to the specific room where she was conceived:

All night long on my bed
    I looked for the one my heart loves;
    I looked for him but did not find him.
I will get up now and go about the city,
    through its streets and squares

I will search for the one my heart loves.
    So I looked for him but did not find him.

The watchmen found me
    as they made their rounds in the city.
    “Have you seen the one my heart loves?”

Scarcely had I passed them
    when I found the one my heart loves.

I held him and would not let him go
    till I had brought him to my mother’s house,
    to the room of the one who conceived me

John 20:11-17: With Jesus’ followers in hiding after the crucifixion, Mary was the only member of the entourage willing to take personal and emotional risks and go seek out her love – putting herself on the line – risking her safety should she encounter the Roman Sentries guarding the tomb, willing to search within the dark, cold, and foreboding tomb for her love.

How will Mary emotionally react? She’s likely going to encounter the dead body of the person who had loved her as her older brother. Will Mary be emotionally devastated? Yet Mary perseveres in the face of uncertainty (1 Corinthians 13:7 – love perseveres; James 1:12 – Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial).

Mary encounters watchmen, not Roman guards, but two Angles guarding the tomb. Then suddenly, startled, unable to recognize him, yet there he is! She held him fast, only letting go so he could return to Mary’s Creator, his Father:

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. [I looked for the one my heart loves; I looked for him but did not find him.] As she wept, she bent over to look into the [dark, cold, forboding] tomb and saw two angels [The watchmen found me] in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” [“Have you seen the one my heart loves?”]

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” [So I looked for him but did not find him.] At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, [Scarcely had I passed them (watchman)] but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.” [when I found the one my heart loves]

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). [I held him and would not let him go]

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. [till I had brought him to my mother’s house, to the room of the one who conceived me] Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

MAJOR CONNECTION

  • Ascending to the Father – Creator of Mary
  • Bringing him to my mother’s house to the room were I was conceived – where the Schumanite was “created” by her parents.

Emphasizes here is on Genesis 2:22 (“woman’s Creation”), a cornerstone in God’s marriage architecture.

WHAT MORE ADVICE DOES THIS MIRRORING REFLECT?

  1. Christ’s relationship with Mary – he knows her heart (Genesis 2:25). Christ was Mary’s protective “older brother,” just the way husbands should relate to their wives (My Sister theology of Song). Mary and the Schuminite both understood the value of brotherly, protective love. Thus Mary and the Schuminite were equally willing to take risks to find and to keep hold of brotherly, protective love, not allowing this brotherly love to just drift away.
  2. Mary clung to Christ; the Schuminite clung to her love – so should spouses bond in love, cling to Jesus and to each other; horizontal and vertical love (clinging) is necessary to achieve the Blessed union. Again, marital love drifts away unless you work at it, maintaining a firm grasp.
  3. Schumanite’s city search for her lover, and Mary’s willingness to go look for her love in the foreboding tomb, teaches that husbands and wives must equally expend considerable effort, putting themselves “on the line,” willing to take emotional and personal risks in order to bond in love (becoming mutual accountability partners in order to prevent self-centeredness from killing the union, Genesis 2:22).
  4. When the wife willingly takes risks to find love with her husband, like the watchman protected the Schumanite, and as the Angels were awaiting Mary, the Holy Spirit will similarly protect the wife. (Peter’s DOING GOOD.)

SUMMARY

Philip Ryken’s, in promoting his newly released book: The Love of Loves in the Song of Songs, Crossway, 2019, proved this summary:

The better we understand God’s sacred design for human sexuality, the less we will settle for smaller pleasures that quickly turn into spiritual bondage [the sins of alienation]. Instead, we will be so captivated by God’s sacred design that we will feel compelled to surrender our sexuality to Jesus Christ, and experience the freedom and the joy that will come as a result.

Sex plays its part in this beautiful story [linking Adam’s blind date in Genesis with the wedding that ends all weddings in Revelation] by securing the bonds of marriage. Think of sexual intimacy as “covenant cement” — the physical bonding agent of a holy commitment. It has other purposes as well, including the propagation of the human race. But God has so much at stake in marriage as a symbol of spiritual reality that he has designed the gift of sexual intimacy to help secure its sacred vows. This is how unified a husband and wife become — their bodies literally become one flesh.”

TAKEAWAYS

  • Her sexual assertiveness, although countercultural even today, is NOT an expression of today’s feminist movement of anti-submissiveness, nor is it an expression of equality in functional interchangeability. Rather her assertiveness is the reflection that she was Created to return to him. GOD’s Creative Intent drives her sensual assertiveness.
  • To understand the rapture message of Song is the wake-up antidote for married Christians who have been burned by their own lustful desires, who now see their personal solution being a rejection of all sexual desire (work, not grace), as if God’s Creation of sexual desire was their root problem. No way!
  • Song is anti-lust. Lust only has to do with biological responses. One’s partner in lust is replicable—just change partners and repeat the same actions and you get the same biological responses. Being anti-lust, Song teaches that marital relationships can be sexually on-fire, experiencing a rapture that lust is totally incapable of delivering – although the noetic effects of sin will always alibi “lust” as otherwise.
  • LUST is the fruit of worshiping self-absorption. LUST breaks the marriage Covenant. LUST commits the waywardness sins of horizontal and vertical alienation, acts of disobedience [another warning in Hebrews 12:3-17 — do not willfully reject salvation to possess a “shiny object,” e.g., feeling entitled to “on demand” sexual gratification, or seeking out a “newer, exciting, sexier, and younger Philistine woman.” [Esau was famished from hunting, so he traded his birthright (Isaac’s Blessing and inheritance) to Jacob for an immediate gratification, a bowl of Jacob’s red stew (Genesis 25:29-30)]. LUST is choosing Babylon as one’s ultimate destination, not Heaven (Hebrews 3:19, Ephesians 5:5). The wife has the Biblical right to refuse LUST (Ephesians 5:3, 7).
  • The Greek word for sensual love, Song’s basic motif, is érōs (ἔρως), meaning “intimate love/sexual passion,” which simply manifests itself within a holistic appreciation – the appreciation of the beauty within the spouse, plus the spouse’s physical beauty, both uniquely designed by God.
  • Since érōs is passionate, human erotic love intended by God to be the physical expression of agápē; érōs is the outgrowth of divine, sacrificial love. This indicates that Song’s overarching motif also is the concept that our bodies are more than biological—they are theological! Likely, this is the “profound mystery” that Paul is reflecting upon in Ephesians 5:32.
  • In today’s culture, érōs comes associated with erotic sex – and it’s likely associated with everyone’s perception of porn. Thus, in church settings, Song is often pastorally avoided, even in men or women’s bible study groups, so as to not to be offensive – Song is stigmatized by our PC culture. But if sex is the basis of Paul’s “great mystery,” referring to Christ and the Church, then what is the Church if the Church blocks out sermons and/or study groups on sex? (Three references listed in the Biblography, below, present Song for teaching in a pastoral setting.)
  • Masculinity and femininity are outward signs of God’s Creation of sexual attraction. And his masterful design of our brain’s reward system complements his sexual attraction. Song stresses that sexuality is part of a person’s individuality, an essence, to be appreciated and delighted in, daily under the umbrella of agápē. How? Did you complement your spouse’s essence this morning—like: Wow! You’re looking beautiful/handsome! What did you last say when your wife got out of the shower? Did you complement God’s exquisite design of her female form?

Hank Miiller lives in Newton, Penn., attends the Pineville Independent Bible Church, Pineville, Penn., and is a Biblical Marriage Counselor specializing in helping those in abusive relationships.

ENDNOTES

[1] Cornelius Van Til (May 3, 1895 – April 17, 1987) was a Dutch-American Christian philosopher and Reformed theologian, who is credited as the originator of modern presuppositional apologetics. “Presuppositionalism’s” central tenet is that the Christian must at all times presuppose the supernatural revelation of the Bible as the ultimate arbiter of truth and error in order to know anything. Christians, they say, can assume nothing less because all human thought presupposes the existence of the God of the Bible.

Calvin was a major influence in Van Til’s life. In 1914 he attended Calvin Preparatory School, graduated from Calvin College, and attended one year at Calvin Theological Seminary, studding under Louis Berkhof (an American-Dutch Reformed theologian who’s known by his influential works on systematic theology), transferring to Princeton Theological Seminary, graduating with his PhD, Van Til began teaching at Princeton Seminary, but shortly went with the conservative group that founded Westminster Theological Seminary, where he taught for 43 years.

[2] Van Til, THE DEFENSE OF THE FAITH, Fourth Edition, P&R Publishing, 1967, p. 61.

[3] John Frame, VAN TIL, THE THEOLOGIAN, pp. 8-9, https://reformed.org/apologetics/index.html?mainframe=/apologetics/frame_vtt.html

[4] Gravitational waves were proposed by Henri Poincaré in 1905 and subsequently predicted in 1916 by Albert Einstein on the basis of his general theory of relativity. Gravitational waves transport energy as gravitational radiation, a form of radiant energy similar to electromagnetic radiation.

[5] Psycho dynamics: The interrelation of the unconscious and conscious mental and emotional forces that determine personality and motivation.

[6] In the OT, one’s family was one’s police force.

[7] The Law of God is the first five Books of the Canon written by Moses and known as the Pentateuch, anchored by the Ten Commandants (the Mosaic Covenant) at Mt Sinai.

[8] Within The Law of God, Leviticus has ten citations setting limits on a man’s sexual behavior within the family and with neighboring women; none addresses abuse. Likewise, Deuteronomy has fifteen citations limiting man’s sexual relations with all women; none addresses abuse. Numbers has five citations addressing a husband’s suspicion that his wife is sleeping around; none addresses abuse.

[9] Also known as the “Cultural Mandate” or “Covenant of Creation.” For “Covenant of Works,” see: Wayne Grudem, SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY, Zondervan, 1994, pp. 516-518.

[10] All scripture is from the NIV unless otherwise noted.

[11] Thomas Schreiner, COVENANT, and God’s Purpose for the World, Crossway, 2017, p. 36.

[12] Genesis 2:25 should NOT be misinterpreted as PLEASING.

[13] The Holy Spirit, in a peculiar manner, anointed Jesus with all those extraordinary powers and gifts that were necessary for him to the exercise and discharge his office on the earth. See also John 3:34 and Acts 10:38, and also Luke 4:1, 14.

[14] Gaslighting: To manipulate someone by psychological means into questioning their own sanity: In the first episode, Karen Valentine is being gaslighted by her husband [from the storyline of the movie Gaslight (1944), in which a man psychologically manipulates his wife into believing that she is going insane.]

[15] Too many pastors (and well-meaning lay counselors), when confronted by an abused wife for advice, will tell them “God hates divorce” so go home and “pretend” that all is OK. Just “submit yourself to your own husband, love him more, show him more compassion so that he will be won over,” paraphrasing 1 Peter 3:1, thinking that he’s given wise marital advice, when in reality, the pastor has PROMOTED THE WIFE TO SIN! The pastor has ignored not only Malachi’s advisory that pretense (covert deceit) is sin but also Peter’s dire warning only six versus later that abusive husbands will be alienated by God’s own hand: “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers, (1 Peter 3:7).

[16] Song of Songs, also known as “Canticles” in the Vulgate (canticum canticorum), is all about love and sex redeemed. It’s positioned to tell a love story before the Fall, when human love was everything God intended it to be, in full compliance with his architectural plan. Both the physical and the spiritual are part of this architecture; the Book was not fully appreciated until the New Covenant. Sex within marriage is therefore good and holy, a gift from God for spousal enjoyment and the furthering of physical, spiritual, and emotional intimacy between husbands and wives.

Many scholars point out that the woman’s voice dominates, speaking in 61.5 out of the 170 versus, suggesting that in vv. 1:2-6; 3:1-4; 5:1-7, 10-16 are so essentially female that a male author could hardly imitate their tone and texture successfully. Song is believed to be a collection of poems. Modern archaeology has uncovered ancient Near East love poetry akin to those in Song.

Up into the 19th century, Song was treated as some type of (de-sexed) allegory. It was John Calvin who used his influence to promote Song as concerned with physical love, associating the marriage bed with the deepest divine manifestation of love. God designed the architecture for marriage to mirror his relationship with us, so it seems natural that God inspired Song to mirror that relationship as well. Calvin promoted Song to be included in the Canon.

The authorship of Solomon is suspect. Having accumulated some 300 wives and 700 concubines, and led away from God by his wives (1 Kings 11:1-6), Davidic King Solomon hardly seems like the person to explain God. [See Iain Duguid, SONG OF SONGS, Reformed Exposition Commentary, P&R Publishing, 2016, pp. xiv-xx (Introduction).]

[17] Genesis 2:22 — Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib … The Hebrew made means “to build a house,” to establish a family. The Hebrew pictograph for made is clear – first is the outline of the tent with a inner room for intimacy, then a “seed” that resembles a sperm is pictured, and finally is little “Hey,” the guy with upraised arms celebrating.

[18] TRINITY: The early leaders of the Greek Church called the “Dance of God” perichoresis, derived from two Greek words peri, which means “around,” and chorein, which means “to give way” or “to make room,” a dance of three rotating about, “each centering upon the other two, pouring love, delight, and adoration into them. None demands that another revolves around him. Each loves, adores, defers to, and rejoices in the others,” Tim Keller, THE REASON FOR GOD, Dutton, 2008, p. 215. The “other-centered love” aspect of Perichoresis is found in John 1:18, 3:16, and 10:15. The intimacy of triune oneness can be found in Matthew 11:27 and Luke 10:22. Mutual glorification is found in John 16:14, 17:4-5.

[19] The husband’s horizontal delight in his wife, in God’s architectural plan, is to emulate God’s vertical delight he takes in us.

Here are six ways God delights in each of us:

√ God is for us not against us: Romans 8:31
√ We are made in his image and he takes delight in each of us: Genesis 1:27; Zephaniah 3:17; Isaiah 62:5; Ecclesiastes 9:7
√ We are stubbornly loved even when we are unlovable: John 3:16; Proverbs 3:12; Psalm 6:4, 31:7
√ He gave us unique gifts, talents, and strengths: Romans 11:29, 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:4; Ephesians 4:7
√ He has good plans for us: Jeremiah 29:11
√ We are the apple of his eye: Psalms 17:8; Zachariah 2:18

[20] The poetic organization adopted by this paper tracks that of Tremper Longman III; see bibliography, below.

[21] The theological sequence of Song places Genesis 2:25 in front of Genesis 2:24.

[22] Often you hear a wife saying “I feel connected to …” or “I don’t feel any connection to …” The wife is referring to the spiritual connection of her heart even though she’s referring to her emotional feeling of connection. Why? The language of the heart is emotions.

[23] In the story of Tamar, Genesis 38:8-26, she retained Judah’s “seal and staff” as a security deposit until he delivered a young goat as payment of her sexual services, identification which was to keep her from being burned to death for prostitution.

[24] DC McAllister’s tweet (@McAllisterDen), February 26, 2019, 8:35 AM.

[25] Timothy Keller, with Kathy Keller, THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE, Penguin Group, 2011, pp. 236, refer to the gloriousness of oneness (the fine art of gift-giving) as an “embodied out-of-body experience” (rapture). “It’s the most ecstatic, breathtaking, daring, scarcely-to-be imagined look at the glory that is our future.”

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Longman, SONG OF SONGS (NICOT), William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2001 — Based upon his own translation of the Hebrew plus his knowledge of Hebrew entendre and sexual imagery, emphasizes the sexual nature of Song.

Duguid, SONG OF SONGS (Reformed Expository Commentary), P&R Publishing, 2016 — Pastoral in tone reflecting Duguid’s 2015 sermon series on Song, presented as the founding pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church, Glenside, PA. (Sermon audios are available of their web site.)

Pope, SONG OF SONGS (The Anchor Yale Bible), Yale University Press, 1977 — Comprehensive. Interprets Song from Rabbinic, cultic, allegorical, Catholic, French Protestant, and mystical viewpoints.

O’Donnell, THE SONG OF SOLOMON, (Preaching the Word), Crossway, 2012 — tailored specifically for preaching Song in a church environment.

Ryken, THE LOVE OF LOVES IN THE SONG OF SONGS, Crossway, 2019 — tailored specifically for preaching Song in a church environment.